Letting go and letting back in
The new year has arrived and it is time to take action on some important decisions we have taken around the holidays. For many of us, this involves a process of letting go of jobs, projects, relationships, habits or parts of ourselves that are no longer serving us in order to open space for the new. But how does this letting go actually take place within us, how can we help it happen in a healthy way? One key element that is often overlooked in such moments is the integration of the opposite of letting go: letting back in.
Letting back in
Whatever it is that we are letting go of, we have a history with it. You could say that your involvement in this project, in this relationship, in this habit, had a beginning, a middle and an end of some sort. If you look closely at that history, you might find there were some important turning points in which you had to make a decision. Ideally, you made that decision consciously. In many situations, however, this might not be the case.
When we make a decision unconsciously, there is a tendency to identify with the part of ourselves that made that decision and reject its opposite.
In order for our letting go process to be complete, it is important to check if there are such pieces of ourselves we have left behind and collect them back. In shamanic cultures, there is a model that explains this from another angle. They say that when faced with traumatic events or difficult situations, a part of our soul leaves the body. It takes with it some of the pain that is too much for our being to process at that time. This often happens when we are children, but it can happen when we grow up too. It is said that at a point further down the road, those pieces can return. They return either because we are ready for them to come back, or because we have called them in, or both.
Why let back in the parts you rejected?
Essentially, ‘letting back in’ is about coming into greater wholeness. From that space we are able to access the ENERGY that we need to let go and move forward. We could look at it in very practical terms. Rejected parts of ourselves when left unaddressed for too long will express themselves in a physical, psychological or energetic way or some mixture of those. We might know this in theory, but the the way it might come up can be different each time.
To give you an example, last time I stumbled on this was in a mushroom trip about a week ago. I had been going through a pattern where I’d begin my day with decent energy. Around lunchtime it would dip so low that it would take several hours to get it back up and running. So my intention for my trip was simply to get back my energy. The mushrooms suggested that we look at where I lost it in the first place. Logic. Duh. They led me to look at a project I was in the process of letting go of and ask myself:
“Where did I lose my energy?”
They showed me 3 key points in which that happened. In one case, I agreed to do some work that I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy. I had decided to go with ‘humility’ and do some unenjoyable things and in doing so had rejected my pride. A second point was when I decided on something as an act of service to the community, in which case I had rejected my selfishness. And finally, it was all due to an earlier decision to ‘go with the flow’ in which I had rejected the strategist in me.
For each of those parts, I was invited to call it back in and let it reenter my body. It felt like streams of energy being pulled back into my being from who knows where. For each of those parts, as it returned back, I could feel my energy picking up.
I have not had the issue with afternoon energy dips ever since. I have a sense my experience is a mild case of rejection of parts of self. I can easily see how this could develop into physical and psychological sickness if I hadn’t taken this decision and hadn’t collected those parts in a timely way.
How to welcome back the parts you rejected?
You can do this in meditation, in journalling, in ritual or any other way that helps you connect with yourself more deeply. Ask yourself:
1. What were some turning points where you experienced pain/discomfort or had to make a key decision in this project, relationship or habit? 2. What part(s) of yourself you might have asked to leave so that you keep your involvement in it?
Once you identify a part, close your eyes and set an intention to welcome it back in. Visualise when and where exactly was it that you rejected that part and FEEL how it felt to lose it. Then ask it to return — allow for an image, emotion or sensation to arise. It can be streams of energy coming back into your body, it can be a physical sensation or emotion, it can be a character, or a rewriting of that memory. Whatever it is, be with it for a while. You might need to go through this process several times with different parts of yourself in order to feel complete.
Loving awareness: the key for making this process work
It can be easy to swing from rejecting the part we are welcoming back (eg. selfishness) to identifying with it. When we identify with it, we repeat the same pattern! It was because of our identification with its opposite (eg. selflessness) that we ended up here in the first place. So for this recollecting of self to truly work:
It is absolutely essential that we hold loving awareness towards all parts of ourselves involved in this process!
You can imagine yourself as a wise queen/king that is there to TRULY listen to everyone involved and make some decisions based on what he/she has heard. Not because he/she has a preference for one or the other, but because in that specific situation, this is the wise thing to do. For example, certain situations will call for more selfishness, others will call for more selflessness. We can strive for a balance between the two — a place where our selfishness and selflessness meet in healthy service to both self and other. On a deeper level, if we serve other at the expense of self, we engage in the mindset of separation. Our soul won’t let us stay there and will create pain until we come back to see that there is no other, i.e. we can only serve self and other at the same time.
How to make healthy decisions in the future?
With all this our consciousness trip is not over — it has just begun. Key turning points will come up in whatever it is that we decide to do after we have let go of the old. Ideally, whenever we are faced with an important decision, we will sit down and summon all parties involved from the energy of the king/queen of our lives. We will listen to them with compassion and we will choose wisely, finding a way in which all parts of ourselves are satisfied. When that is not possible, we can sure those who are not fully honoured in a certain situation know they are loved and welcome next time. As we do that, we step into greater wholeness. Essentially, we ensure that our energetic, emotional, metal and physical bodies are ready for the new beginning we are asking them to join us on.
About Lessons in Paradise
I believe we already are in paradise, regardless of where we are and what’s going on in our lives. I believe life is a journey towards becoming aware of this and enjoying as much of it as we can in the limited amount of time we have here. The Lessons in Paradise vlog is the space where I share my process of shedding patterns and beliefs that obstruct our view in order to replace them with presence, joy and wonder. It’s also my invitation to you — an invitation to connect and journey together in creative ways, as we help each other see through to the greatest expression of ourselves. I also love creating spaces for growth-oriented people to align to their purpose. I do that in the form of coaching, shamanic work and group sessions in the Connection Playground community.